I’ve always been a relationship-driven person. I believe in looking after people and giving back to the community and many people at Viridian feel the same way. That’s why we started the Viridian Community Program, which focuses on helping our staff and other people in our community who are affected by various social issues.
The Viridian Community Program is built around three pillars:
1. Charity begins at home
We believe it’s important to support causes that are close to our people in some way. That’s why we regularly engage with charities or community groups that have been selected by our staff. These address issues they or someone they know has been personally affected by, like mental illness, medical research or homelessness.
For example, in the past we supported a staff member to take part in the Black Dog Ride that aims to raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention. Sadly, the staff member’s brother-in-law committed suicide, so her husband decided to take part in a charity ride from Melbourne to Darwin even though he had never ridden a motorcycle before. We were proud to support him through staff donations and business matching gifts, and he ended up being the highest individual fundraiser for the charity ride.
The Viridian Community Program is built around action. We make an effort to get out of the office and interact with the people we’re helping as much as we can. One of our main charity partners is The Big Umbrella, which rescues food and repurposes it into meals for the homeless, or “friends of the street” in Melbourne.
We have committed to monthly volunteering nights with a team of twenty staff taking part in The Big Umbrella’s ‘A Real Meal’ program, which gives us the opportunity to prepare and serve meals to the friends of the street at Federation Square. Very importantly it also allows staff to engage with marginalised people who are often ignored. The Big Umbrella calls this “time caring” and it’s enormously important, as we might be the only person someone speaks to on that day. We are hoping The Big Umbrella ‘A Real Meal’ Program will go national in the future and our interstate offices will also be able to participate.
We are also looking at implementing a national pro bono volunteering program with the Cancer Council of Australia to use our financial planning expertise to help individual and families affected by cancer. For our staff, it might only be a couple of hours a month, but it will be very rewarding and could be enormously beneficial to those who receive our advice.
3. Viridian Foundation
Our vision for the future is to establish our own foundation that will allow us to contribute more to causes that matter to our staff. As Viridian grows, the fund will also grow with funds that can be donated or granted to charities or social enterprises that are doing good things in the community and chosen by our staff.
At Viridian, we believe it’s important to look beyond our job of looking after clients and consider our responsibility to our community. The Viridian Community Program allows us to help others, while also investing in causes that are important to our staff and we are all very proud of it.